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Bield tenant is a painting sensation!

A 95-year-old Bield tenant has painted over 350 dazzling masterpieces, despite being registered blind. 

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A 95-year-old Bield tenant has painted over 350 dazzling masterpieces, despite being registered blind.

Margaret McNeil, who has lived at Bield’s Fife Court in Bothwell for 26 years, is known for her rugged landscapes and animal portraits, with many of her finished pieces hanging in homes around the globe.

Since being registered blind three years ago, the former House of Fraser dress fitter has relied on both her sense of touch and memories to bring her paintings to life.

Margaret said:

“I’ve always painted. When we used to go up north in a tent I had watercolours and oil paints, and used to get the big stones from the beach, paint them all and give them to people as door stops. I had never had any training.”

Following the death of her husband George, Margaret enrolled in art classes after being introduced to the teacher, Duncan.

“I did around 221 big paintings until my sight got so bad that I thought I would need to give up. Duncan wouldn’t let me leave. So I have to do it all by memory. It is hard, but I get there.”

When not creating strokes of genius, the grandmother of three spends most of her time baking, and is renowned locally for both her lemon and coffee and walnut cakes.

Margaret added:

“I make around 20 cakes on a normal day, and another 12 for church on Sunday - half cakes for couples and quarters for single people. The dentist and the doctor’s surgeries get one each every week, and one goes to the police department and the bank.

“It’s nice to know that you have given someone a wee bit of pleasure, and I have always said to have a friend you’ve to be one yourself because so many people want to take and don’t want to give of themselves.

“Maybe that’s why people refer to me as their ‘surrogate granny’. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”